Saturday, July 24, 2010

Breathtaking Stained Glass

I think this is my favorite stained glass piece ever.

Picking up where I left off on a recent post about getting side-tracked by a couple of volcanoes, a clear day, and a Russian Orthodox church...

When I finally got to Homer, Alaska I went into the studio-shop of a stained glass artist named Marali Seargeant-Smith.   She had some unusual pieces that I really liked.  She was working on an impossibly detailed piece inspired by jazz music.  She doesn't have a website, darn it, or I would surely give you the link. She told me she had a piece commissioned and installed in the hospital chapel in Soldotna

The next day, I went to see it.  It is stunning and I am in love with it.

I find it both rugged and peaceful at the same time.  It speaks "Alaska!" in a way that is both bold and soothing.

The colors are so true to Alaska. The Kenai River changes colors with sun and cloud, going from aqua to turquoise to blue on any given afternoon. Purple Lupine flowers are everywhere as are grey-white trunked Birch trees and tall thin Spruces.  It seems she kind of combined these two tree species to create this piece, taking the white trunks of the Birch but matching them with the conical shape of the Spruces.  I think I like her bold move in this because it represents both so beautifully that I didn't even notice it until just now.

The chapel is very small with walls finished in the natural color of wood seen in the first photo.  The room is beautiful, simple, and soothing.  The glass piece is the focal point.

Marali soldered some of her tree pieces on 3-dimensionally which makes the piece breathtaking. 

The mountain here is Mt. Redoubt, mentioned in my last post.  Along with the turquoise and aqua waters of the Kenai River, Redoubt is a local icon of the city of Soldotna.

She did a beautiful job of capturing the color of the Kenai River.  I love, also, how she put that one reddish brown piece of glass between the water and the mountain.  Now, that's the kind of thing that simply baffles me about artists far more talented than I.  How did she know to do that?  How did she know it would work?

Aren't her 3-D leaves striking?

Being a chapel, she told me that she wanted to have a cross in the piece but not in an overpowering way since the chapel would serve people of a variety of faiths.  I love how she did it.

I am so glad I stumbled on these photos today while looking around for something else.  I had forgotten how beautiful and amazing this piece is.  I wish I could have it in my home.  I love it.  It reaches right into my heart and squeezes it with such pleasant, excited-but-restful appreciation that it almost hurts!

It was a tough call changing my header photo.  I really wanted one of these but it is much more fitting to have the summery white fence with flowers.  Watch out, though.  This stained glass piece is bound to end up being shown off in the header someday.


  1. Hi Judi,
    Just simply beautiful! I would like to have large panels of these designs in our garden borders, possibly backlit with numerous candles on a summer night.